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In The Midnight Lands

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30. That great tribulation of open-air festivals.



AS NEW Year’s countdown receded, the cold came.

trance zone night 3 cartonised B

It stabbed through our saturated clothes with a silver, sorrowful feel. We stood around and debated where to go to get warm, but with a goofed group accord was always going to be a noble but elusive ideal.

Already casualties drifted in the dark, swallowed, their attentions fractured, their serotonin smashed. In my mind Dan and Sam loomed large, so when they announced they were heading back to camp for a change of clothes I attached myself to their intention.

On the walk I was all spangled solicitousness:

feeling good? you guys good? - squelch, squelch - here, have some gum - slurp, suck - it helps with the jaw - slurp, suck, squelch - have you drunk much water? - squelch - make sure you drink - squelch - but not too much water - slurp - not too much okay? - suck, suck, slurp - good, you guys feeling good? - rrrrrrrruuush - gum? Anyone want some gum?

Back at camp, after we’d changed and wrung our outfits and mopped our faces and dried our hair, Dan and Sam made it clear they were now keen to continue on their own. Well all right then. Free. I was free, wheeeeeeee, I made for the House Tent, out of the rain.

But first that great tribulation of open-air festivals, unwanted but unavoidable: a night time rendezvous with the portaloos. 

I came up on an off-kilter and crooked line of them, tombstones in the murk. To get to them I had to negotiate a small lake in front, opting for a tippy-toe run I fondly imagined might skip me across the water. It didn’t. Sigh.

Inside I struck a delicate praying mantis pose and held my breath and tried not to touch anything, especially not the brown substance smearing the walls, which I fervently hoped was mud, and it all being rather harder than it sounds when trying to get through two layers of pants, holding a flashlight in your mouth, and peaking.

But still worth it.

Everything was worth it, for the fun.

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